Study Abroad

10 Ways to Study Abroad

Curious about how to study abroad? We're here to show you all the different ways to study abroad, whether you're in high school or college!

Study abroad students standing at mountain top holding banner

Want to study abroad, but you’re not sure how or when? Many students think their options to study abroad are limited to what their university offers, however, here at Go Overseas, we want to show you that there are more ways than ever to get a meaningful education overseas!

You also aren’t limited to just studying abroad while in college! You can study abroad whether you’re currently in high school, college, or even in between! There are many different forms of studying abroad to consider, making it accessible to everyone.

So whether you’re a high schooler, undergrad, recent graduate, or want to study abroad without delaying graduation, here are 10 different ways to study abroad!

1. Book a study abroad program through your university

Pros: It won’t interrupt your school schedule, and your university will organize it
Cons: It may lack flexibility and personalization since programs are already established, and students may feel a lack of independence

One of the simplest ways to study abroad is by booking a study abroad program through your university. Of course, you’ll need to be currently enrolled at a university to do this.

Typically, students study abroad during their second or third year of university. Study abroad credits are almost guaranteed to fit your academic requirements, and primary fees are often linked directly to your tuition payments. However, some study abroad programs won’t affect a student’s grade. This can be a weight off a student’s shoulders as they balance studies with their cultural experience, whereas other students want to study abroad to maximize their GPA.

In addition to transferable credits, your university’s study abroad program may also manage logistics like visas and housing. You can inquire about study abroad opportunities available through your school by reaching out to your on-campus program counselor or browsing your school’s study abroad online portal.

2. Find study abroad programs through a third-party provider

Pros: Logistics such as visa and accommodation are taken care of for you, and you’ll have more options to find the perfect program.
Cons: It can be more expensive

Whether or not you’re already a student, a third-party provider can provide a fantastic study abroad experience. It can also bring peace of mind for travelers because their team will help you with almost every aspect of your study abroad application and experience. Students will benefit from application support, university placement, visa assistance, accommodation, and 24/7 in-country support.

They can also help you immerse yourself in the country’s culture outside of studies. Many programs will offer excursions or other experiential learning activities, such as guided walking tours, field trips to iconic sights or nearby cities, cooking classes, and language lessons.

There is a wide range of options when it comes to third-party providers. Whether you want to study science or the arts, you can go almost anywhere. Many program providers host programs focused on a discipline, allowing you to meet other students in your desired field and take classes that will propel your career.

To reduce expenses, students can apply for study abroad scholarships and grants to reduce expenses. While it may not cover the entire cost of your program, a study abroad scholarship can relieve students of financial pressure and help them make their dreams a reality.

Read more: The Perks of Studying Abroad with a Third-Party Provider

“I really enjoyed my time abroad and the support given by CEA. The housing was in a great location near the city center and you could navigate the city well with public transport. The courses taught were engaging and connected well to class excursions.” - Josephine, Studying Abroad in Prague With CEA CAPA

3. Enroll directly with a university overseas

Pros: Potentially the cheapest way to study abroad, you’ll have more independence to sign up for classes you’re interested in and choose where you want to live.
Cons: You’ll have to organize everything from the application to the transition in-country, the university may have stricter eligibility requirements, and you need to have strong language skills depending on the country you’re visiting

Another way to study abroad is by directly enrolling in a university overseas. Despite its simplicity and direct approach, this option is often overlooked.

Rather than going through an organized program with your home school or a third-party provider, you can directly enroll for a semester, year, or full degree at a university abroad. Many colleges and universities abroad welcome international students with open arms, meaning you don’t need citizenship to apply directly to study there!

This can offer benefits such as reduced tuition fees compared to your home country, freedom when selecting programs and a place to live, and more. However, you’re required to handle your application, organize your visa, secure accommodation, and sign up for classes yourself

If you're applying for a university that doesn't provide courses in English, you'll need a good grasp of the local language. Don’t worry, though, we’ve rounded up a list of English-speaking universities for international students! It’s important to ensure that the credits are transferable if you want to continue your degree at your home school afterward.

4. Take a global independent studies course

A student posing in front of a university in South Korea

Pros: Allows students to pursue subjects in-depth and with more independence
Cons: Your research subject needs to be approved by a study advisor first

Independent studies are usually in-depth courses created and completed by a student under the guidance of a faculty sponsor. Similar to a dissertation or a thesis, this allows students to specialize within a niche and study in much greater depth and traditional class modules.

While these types of study abroad opportunities are similar to booking a program through your school (you’ll have to reach out to a professor, academic counselor, and your study abroad office) they stand out because of their size, requirements, and niche focus.

5. Participate in a student exchange program

Pros: Offers greater cultural immersion, language development, and international experience
Cons: Arranging to get credit through your home school can be a lengthy process, and it’s not guaranteed you’ll receive transferable credit

Have you ever considered swapping places with an international student just to see what a semester or year in their shoes would be like? Well, you’re in luck because that's totally a thing!

Student exchange programs are usually facilitated through “sister schools”, or schools that have established relationships across the seas. High school exchange programs are popular among students who want to experience studying in a different foreign environment, maximizing their language learning and cultural immersion. This is also a great way to study abroad without delaying high school graduation.

Students can also go on exchange programs during university. The Erasmus+ program is a popular example of a student exchange program in Europe and beyond.

6. Supplement your learning with a field studies program abroad

Pros: It’s a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in your desired field and perform research that can be added to your resume
Cons: It can be physically demanding and may not offer as much credit as traditional courses

Do you thrive in hands-on learning environments and crave something more engaging than traditional classroom learning? Field studies is another immersive learning experience for prospective study abroad students.

Field study is a form of study where students conduct research and collect data in real-world settings. Students can go anywhere and the subject consists of anything, from health science in the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa to rainforest studies in the Amazon. Although some programs may not offer college credit or go towards your grades, it’s a great opportunity to gain valuable practical skills and experience.

7. Gain school credit with an internship abroad

10 Ways to Study Abroad: Student Exchange

Pros: Gain insight into how industries function and receive work experience before leaving school
Cons: Work is often unpaid

Doing an internship abroad can boost a student’s grades and resume, and some university programs may even require internship credits (or hours of experience) to graduate. Many companies offer internships to candidates who are already enrolled at a university, and in exchange for their work, the student will gain valuable industry experience and potentially academic credit.

While these pre-entry-level job opportunities may be unpaid, they offer significant learning opportunities while meeting academic requirements. Internships also enhance your resume when you search for work as a graduate. Remember to get your intern program pre-approved to ensure the hours and internship type meet your home school’s credit requirements.

8. Consider taking a gap year after high school graduation

Pros: Highly flexible, can be as long as you’d like, can gain work experience, learn a new language, volunteer, or simply travel and see more of the world
Cons: It can be costly and it may be hard to motivate oneself to re-enter education following an extended period of travel, no guarantee you’ll earn academic credits

Taking a gap year is a common option among students in the UK, and Australia, and is becoming increasingly more popular among students in the US. Gap years are a great way for students to see the world and understand what they truly want from their education (and career) before committing to a college or university course abroad.

Gap years may be unfairly misinterpreted as a way to procrastinate one’s studies. However, it is what you make of it. A gap year traveling the world and meeting new people offers invaluable personal benefits. During a gap year, students can volunteer, work, or study anywhere.

Whether you want to volunteer with communities in Costa Rica, become a dive instructor in Thailand, or learn Spanish in South America, gap years can be just as educational as studying at university.

Students can also benefit from gap year scholarships and grants. Organizations recognize the profound benefits of travel for young people and offer scholarships and grants to facilitate these experiences. Thousands of dollars of scholarships and grants go unclaimed each year, so be sure to apply!

9. Get supported by the federal government to study abroad

Pros: Receive financial support from the government
Cons: Program options may be limited

The government may even fund study abroad opportunities depending on your nationality.

For example, the USA Department of State and federal agencies fund studying abroad opportunities for students of all ages. If you’re from the UK, you may receive a grant to cover travel or program expenses if you’re studying abroad as part of a course or on a placement through the Erasmus scheme.

Whether you’re still in school or college, you can enhance your education and project research by applying to their partnered programs.

High school students are offered year-long and summer merit-based scholarships and language programs, like The Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange and National Security Language Initiative for Youth. Undergraduate and graduate students have access to need-based and merit-based scholarships, teaching assistant assignments, language studies, field research support, and more.

10. Enroll at a language school abroad

Pros: Flexible timeframes, could be more affordable than typical study abroad, may not need a student visa
Cons: May not receive academic credit

Whether you’re still enrolled in high school, currently in university, or just graduated college, you can enroll at a language school abroad. At a language school abroad, you’ll take classes at a local school or university. You can choose to stay with a host family that can enhance your cultural immersion and language development. Or, you can find your own place to live abroad while having more independence.

Language schools are popular study abroad options because they are typically more affordable and program lengths are flexible. Program lengths vary if you want to learn a language abroad for a few weeks, a semester, or a year.

Read more: The 10 Best Languages to Learn (and where to learn them)


Commonly asked questions about studying abroad

A camera, magnifying glass, and other items on a map

While you now know more ways to study abroad, it’s only natural that you’ll have more questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about studying abroad.

Will studying abroad delay graduation?

Not necessarily! Students can study abroad during school breaks, so their normal classroom schedule and curriculum aren’t interrupted. There are many personalized and customizable programs, accredited programs, and the ability to get high school/college credit during school breaks. However, this will also be peak travel season so it may be more expensive to travel with short-term programs.

Otherwise, you can study abroad after graduation with an independent program or a language school if you are concerned about studying abroad without delaying graduation.

How much does it cost to study abroad?

Studying abroad can cost as little as $1,000 USD to as much as $50,000 USD per semester. While you may even get tuition for free, you’ll still have to account for costs such as airfare, groceries, rent, and more.

Study abroad costs depend on many factors, such as local tuition fees, cost of living, program length, whether you enroll directly or go with a third-party provider, and more.

Those looking to study abroad on a budget should consider studying in countries with low tuition fees and lower living costs. They can also reduce the length of their program if they want to maximize affordability.

Read more: How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad

When is the best time to study abroad?

The best time to study abroad relies on many personal factors. If you’re concerned about delaying graduation, studying during school breaks or after graduation may be the best time to study abroad. However, other students prefer to study abroad during high school or before college if delaying graduation isn’t an issue.

How hard are study abroad courses?

This depends on your current level and your unique study abroad program. With language courses, for example, you can enroll in beginner, intermediate, or advanced courses. However, studying abroad at university will be appropriate according to your past grades and current studying abilities.

What subjects can I study abroad?

Anything! Whether you want to study the sciences, arts, or other, study abroad programs encompass almost every subject. Additionally, many universities abroad offer their courses fully in English.

When deciding what you want to study abroad, it’s worth considering which countries can offer you the best level of education for that specific subject. For example, Spain offers excellent Spanish courses, while Germany and England offer high-level engineering courses.

Things to consider before planning your study abroad adventure

Think about the following to help you decide when, where, and how to study abroad.

  • Set goals: You should know what you want to reap from the experience before enrolling in a study abroad course. Do you want academic credits, or to improve your conversational language abilities? How important is the cultural immersion aspect compared to academic achievements?
  • Choose where you want to study: Remember, you’ll have a life outside the classroom! Be sure to study abroad in an intriguing country that can facilitate your desired lifestyle.
  • Determine the time and length you wish to study for: Fortunately, you can study abroad for as little or as long as you like. Whether you only have a few weeks to spare during a busy calendar year, or you can commit the full 12 months towards your studies abroad, many options can cater to your preferences.
  • Ensure that your credits will be transferable: If you’re a high schooler or university student, chat with your college or study abroad advisor to ensure that credits earned during your program abroad will be transferable to your university back home.

Study abroad with style!

There are many ways you can study abroad. Whether you’re in high school, college, university, or neither, there are study abroad programs for you. You can study abroad no matter your age or your academic achievements! As long as you put the time and effort into researching and optimizing your study abroad application, you can go anywhere in the world!

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